Crooks who stole ATM from NW side shopping center may have tried before

Thieves use stolen forklift to steal cash machine

SAN ANTONIO – It appears thieves who stole an entire ATM from a Northwest Side shopping center may have had plans to steal it earlier this week.

San Antonio police said a witness called them just before 4 a.m. Wednesday, telling them that two men were using a forklift to knock the money machine off its base in a parking lot of the Huebner Oaks Shopping Center. The witness said the crooks then loaded the machine into the bed of a black Ford pickup and drove off, heading toward Interstate 10 near Huebner Drive.

Officers at the scene said the forklift appeared to have been stolen, too. 

"It's just kind of, like, a sad thing that this is what our world's leading to -- theft,” said Mark Perez, who works at the shopping center. "Hopefully, they'll have a hard time getting into it, you know? Or they should have a GPS monitor on that thing."

Perez happened to take photos earlier this week of the same forklift used in the theft. The images on his cellphone show the construction equipment stuck in the mud.

At a construction site adjacent to the shopping center, a manager confirmed that someone attempted to steal the same forklift Sunday night. However, he said the wet weather got in the way.

Perez believes that also foiled plans to steal the ATM at that time.

"That's the feeling that I had on Monday morning, them trying to attempt it. You know, why would they bring this machinery out here?,” he said.  “So I guess they came back this morning to try their second attempt, which was successful, to get the ATM machine. "

Investigators said they have seen several ATM thefts like this recently. 

They said in this case, they should be able to obtain surveillance video from the shopping center.

Police also are asking the public to keep an eye out for any abandoned vehicles. They said the truck used in the theft most likely was stolen and the crooks may dump it somewhere -- possibly with the ATM still in it.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the San Antonio Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (210) 225-STOP (7867).

About the Author: